Mineral Point is a great area to visit. My grandparents lived nearby in Platteville, and my grandpa loved to take my brother and I to Mineral Point and tell us stories about the area, such as how Shake Rag Alley got its name.
Hook's has a little shop inside their factory open on Fridays, which makes it easy to buy their cheese when you visit scenic Mineral Point. You can also find them at the Dane County Farmer's Market.
You know you're in for a treat when a sign announces fresh curd on your way in the door. People from outside of Wisconsin tend to get confused when we say cheese curds because we could be referring to fresh, squeaky, cold cheese curds or battered, fried, warm cheese curds...both are delicious.
Tony Hook led us on a tour of his factory, letting us take a look inside his cheese caves and provided some interesting information on his company. For example, all of his milk comes from within a 4.5 mile radius. Also, in 2001 they changed to sell everything under their own label, which allows them to get a better price for their cheese, and in turn pay farmers more for their milk.
It was fun to run into Tony Hook again on Saturday in Madison at the farmers' market. The photo below shows him waving to some ladies in our group. The market takes on a whole new aspect when you recognize the person who made what you're buying, and you know the history of the company.
It was hard to decide which type of cheese to buy, as we sampled each variety sold by Hook's, but I ended up choosing farmers cheese and cheese curds. I wish I liked blue cheese, because Hook's is famous for for its blue cheese.
However, my mom has a great appreciation for it and I will be certain to tell her where to find Hook's Cheese on the capitol square during the farmers' market (just across from L’Etoile and Graze).
Disclaimer: The expenses associated with the Wisconsin Cheese Tour were covered by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB).